Okinawa Film Series Continues at Japan Society

Visions of Okinawa: Cinematic Reflections

Now through Friday, June 3

Japan Society – 333 E. 47th Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenues)
Streaming Online

Admission: $15 / $10 members (in-person screenings)
$10 (online screenings)
$24 virtual pass (all three online films)

Japan Society marks the 50th anniversary of Okinawa’s reversion from American sovereignty back to Japan with Visions of Okinawa: Cinematic Reflections. This film series documents the dynamic historical, political, and cultural spaces of Okinawa around this pivotal point in history through in-person screenings and streamed films exploring the legacies of the Occupation, WWII, and imperialism.

Primarily focusing on films made around the time of or dealing with the 1972 reversion, Visions of Okinawa addresses issues of identity, race, and borders by presenting diverse and complicated reflections on the prefecture from mainland filmmakers, native Okinawans, and documentarians.

To purchase tickets, please visit Japan Society’s website.

Remaining In-Person Screenings

Terror of Yakuza. Photo from japansociety.org

Terror of Yakuza

Friday, May 20 at 7:00 p.m.

Dir. Sadao Nakajima | 1976 | 96 min. | Action, Drama

A ripped-from-the-headlines Toei production, shot in Okinawa, Terror of Yakuza took inspiration from the then ongoing yakuza conflicts in Okinawa and was banned from screening in the prefecture.

Untamagiru. Photo from japansociety.org

Untamagiru

Saturday, May 21 at 7:00 p.m.

Dir. Go Takamine | 1989 | 120 min. | Drama

Okinawan director Go Takamine’s celebrated adaptation of the famous Uchinaa Shibai play follows Okinawan folk hero Untamagiru as he seeks to create an independent Okinawa on the eve of the reversion.

Imported 35mm Print!

Online Screenings – Available to stream until Friday, June 3

Paradise View by Go Takamine. Photo from japansociety.org

Paradise View

Dir. Go Takamine | 1985 | 117 min. | Drama

Okinawan director Go Takamine’s pioneering debut takes place shortly before the reversion, tacitly addressing the islands’ history of occupation through the story of a wedding between a local girl and a Japanese teacher.

New 2021 edit. Streaming in North America.

Motoshinkakarannu. Photo from japansociety.org

Motoshinkakarannu

Dir. the Nihon Documentarist Union (NDU) | 1971 | 87 min. | Documentary

Shot over a period of 15 months from April 1969 to July 1970, Motoshinkakarannu captures a tumultuous time in Okinawa’s occupation, offering an unflinching snapshot of Okinawan society that captures the daily lives of sex workers, yakuza, tourists, and G.I.s in Koza City.

Streaming worldwide except in Japan and Taiwan.

Asia is One. Photo from japansociety.org

Asia is One

Dir. the Nihon Documentarist Union (NDU) | 1973 | 96 min. | Documentary

Tracing the lives of former Okinawan coal miners, Asia is One confronts the legacy of imperialism alongside the concept of border and identity on the vast stretches of Okinawan islands that lead down to Taiwan.

Streaming worldwide except in Japan and Taiwan.

About the Nihon Documentarist Union (NDU)

Formed in 1968 at Waseda University, the Nihon Documentarist Union (NDU) was once one of the most influential collectives of Japanese nonfiction filmmaking. Emerging from the student movements of the late 1960s, the politically active NDU produced guerilla-style 16mm documentaries shot with asynchronous sound, and wrote extensively in leftist film journals, magazines, and other publications. The group posited an activist cinema of anonymity—rejecting auteurism and opting to exclude individual names from their credits. But while contemporaries like Ogawa Productions have since gone on to international recognition, the groundbreaking work of the NDU has remained in relative obscurity both in Japan and abroad.

In 1969, with negotiations for Okinawa’s return to Japan reaching their final stages, the NDU took to Okinawa, illegally entering the prefecture to document the lives of those marginalized by the region’s history of occupation, exposing the contradictions and systematic issues present within Okinawa’s relationship with Japan and America. Motoshinkakarannu and Asia is One are screening for the first time outside of Japan with new English subtitles.